Fraud News Around the Nation

October 27, 2016
RV Salesman Caught on Camera in Workers’ Comp Scam Must Repay State Over $81,000

A Washington recreational vehicle salesman who claimed he couldn’t work because of an on-the-job injury has been ordered to pay back more than $81,000 in state disability benefits.

Bobby Ray Johnson, 48, pleaded guilty to felony first-degree theft in Pierce County Superior Court. Judge Stephanie Arend sentenced the Tacoma-area man to 45 days in jail, but allowed him to serve the time in electronic home monitoring. Arend also ordered Johnson to repay the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for the cash benefits he wrongfully received.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case based on an L&I investigation.

Johnson originally injured his lower back and chest when he fell in an icy parking lot while working at an RV company in Poulsbo. Based on what Johnson told them, physicians confirmed he could not work because of the injury, and L&I eventually began paying Johnson cash benefits to replace part of his wages.

Over a two-year period starting in May 2013, Johnson received $81,453 in workers’ comp payments. To receive the benefits, Johnson regularly signed official forms declaring he did not, and could not, work because of his on-the-job injury, according to charging papers. However, charging papers said, he worked for three employers during that period.

L&I began investigating Johnson when a routine cross-check of state Employment Security Department records revealed that Johnson was receiving workers’ comp benefits while also working stints as a home caregiver in Pierce County and as an RV salesman in Fife.

An investigator filmed Johnson walking, raising his arms and showing trailers to customers at an RV show in the spring of 2015. The investigator overheard Johnson tell a customer he had worked long hours all weekend, selling a “good amount” of trailers, charging papers said.

Louisiana Couple Wanted in Flood Contractor Fraud Scheme

Tangipahoa Parish sheriff’s deputies say a man and a woman with numerous aliases are wanted in a flood contractor scheme that has taken more than $35,000 from two victims already in the Ponchatoula and Robert areas.

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto said in a news release Amber Contractors has been bidding jobs for home improvement work related to the August flood, accepting the initial step payment, employing unknowing subcontractors to do the work and then failing to pay those subcontractors.

Panepinto says Amber Contractors is not licensed in Louisiana or anywhere else.

She says arrest warrants have issued for 50-year-old Michael Evans Auxier and 51-year-old Maria Lee Avare.

The pair is wanted in Tangipahoa Parish on felony counts of home improvement fraud and misappropriation of contractor funds.

Michigan Doctor/Former Lawmaker Gets Probation for Insurance Fraud

A Lansing, Mich., doctor who is a former state lawmaker has been placed on probation for making false statements to an insurer.

Judge Robert Jonker gave a significant break to Paul DeWeese, whose clinic, NBO Medical, performed nerve block injections. Federal prosecutors wanted a prison sentence Monday.

DeWeese was required to tell Blue Cross Blue Shield that he had signed off on procedures performed by nurse practitioners. But he sometimes gave his log-in information to others. DeWeese has repaid $173,000 to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Separately, he agreed to pay $289,000 to the federal government to settle other allegations.

Prosecutors say DeWeese “ignored professional standards, dismissed a multitude of warnings about his medical practices and engaged in criminal fraud.”

DeWeese says he’s “deeply ashamed” of his actions.

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